FOOTBALL: Institute receive crisis support from UEFA

Aaron Hampton, Ardstraw Chairman, pictured with Irish FA Deputy President Jack Grundie and Bill Anderson, Institute Chairman.
Aaron Hampton, Ardstraw Chairman, pictured with Irish FA Deputy President Jack Grundie and Bill Anderson, Institute Chairman.

Institute, who have been out of their Riverside Stadium ground, at Drumahoe since last August, have received a major cash boost from UEFA to help them.

NIFL Championship leaders has received €160,880 from the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee, while the Committee provided €57,860 to help Ardstraw of the Northern Ireland Intermediate League.

At the Riverside Stadium, the pitch, the changing room and the stands were all badly affected by water damage in the floods last August. The club has had to move out of Drumahoe completely this season and is playing at Wilton Park, home of North-West Junior League club Churchill United.

Water engulfed Ardstraw FC's ground's perimeter fencing, pitch and changing facilities. The County Tyrone club has spent the past seven months fundraising to help restore the ground to its former condition.

The natural disaster grants from the UEFA Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee represent almost half of the total available fund for hardship support across Europe.

UEFA makes a yearly budget of €500,000 available to help rebuild football infrastructure when hit by natural disasters. In addition, in times when the negative effects of climate change are being felt more and more and as a contribution to the Sustainable Development Goal 13 Climate Action, UEFA has a flight carbon compensation system in place and applies principles of sustainable event management.

President of the Irish FA, David Martin, said: "I would like to thank UEFA for the substantial support that it has provided for both Institute FC and Ardstraw FC through its Fair Play and Social Responsibility Committee.

"Our membership of UEFA means that we were able to draw attention to the difficulties that the two clubs had endured and I am pleased that European football's governing body responded so comprehensively. I hope that these funds will provide considerable assistance to both Institute FC and Ardstraw FC as they aim to restore the damage that they suffered last summer."

Bill Anderson, 'Stute Chairman, added: "The officials, management and players at Institute FC are absolutely delighted with this assistance. I would like to thank UEFA for granting it and the Irish FA for making the case on our behalf.

"This money will be significant in our future plans for the club as we seek to build a new home for Institute FC."